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Former Xaverian College student shares journey from classroom to acclaimed spoken-word poet

Xaverian Alumni and award-winning spoken-word poet from Salford, Esther Koch, recently visited the College to catch up with students who meet once a week as part of the Creative Writing Club.

Since leaving Xaverian in 2013, Esther’s career has flourished, and she has achieved numerous accolades. She has produced work for festivals, such as Sounds From The Other City, with her words, she closed the Team GB homecoming ceremony from the Tokyo Olympics at Wembley Stadium in 2021 and has also produced educational content for BBC Bitesize.

Esther spoke about her College journey and her work with Young Identity, alongside sharing writing techniques that have helped her, such as ‘journaling’ and using ‘earworms’, as a starting point for a piece of work, and also encouraged students to use everything around them as a source of inspiration.

Lillian Long, former Flixton Girls School pupil, who is currently studying A Levels in English Language & Literature, Film Studies and History, commented: “Esther’s workshop was incredibly informative! I find her poetry fascinating, and her bubbly personality shines through in her work. It was great to be able to chat to someone who has been a student at Xaverian, and she asked us lots of questions about our experience and took an interest in our creative process.”

When asked about her time at Xaverian, Esther said: “I chose to study at Xaverian because I knew it would help bridge the gap between school and university. I always really enjoyed science in school, so I chose to study A Levels in Chemistry, English Literature and French. French ended up being my favourite subject – I think studying a language is all about communication and I loved learning about etymology. My teachers were incredibly supportive and without their encouragement I wouldn’t have achieved what I have today! They were dedicated to creating opportunities for us to develop outside of the classroom, and my most memorable moments are from activities I did as part of the enrichment programme, such as creative writing workshops and an amazing trip to Paris.”

Esther, who is also an alumni of Young Identity, Manchester’s celebrated spoken-word collective, with whom she collaborates and delivers workshops for young people in the community and within schools, says meeting the Young Identity team while she was a student at Xaverian changed her life.

She continued: “Through my connection with Young Identity, I have been able to launch my career as a spoken-word poet and, alongside releasing my own collections, I get to inspire young people and share my fulfilling experience of becoming a writer. I know I will be writing for the rest of my life. I love that I get to constantly be creative and hopefully in the future I’ll be releasing my very own novel!”

Guy Perry, English Teacher at Xaverian College, said: “Hearing about Esther’s success is truly inspiring, and I’m really pleased that Xaverian has been able to play a part in her success to date.

“Our Creative Writing Club brings together students from across the College who aren’t necessarily studying an English A Level but want to develop their techniques and add to their creative writing talents. It’s just one of the many enrichment opportunities available to our students as part of the ‘Xaverian Xtras’ enrichment programme.”

If you’re passionate about communication, or love to read, then English is a course you’ll find irresistible. At Xaverian, students can choose to study A Levels in English Language, English Literature, or a combined English Language & Literature course. As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

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